Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Right Thing

I heard a story on the radio today told by a handicapped man, not totally paralyzed but bound to a wheelchair. He met a woman who saw through his disability and married him, because just like a woman, she fell in love with the intangible. He explained about the prejudice he has to endure; people are always assuming they are brother and sister; that she is his nurse, etc.

At a small Irish pub on Geary Street in San Francisco, in the twilight of my single years, I met an amazingly beautiful woman who was escorting a diminutive, legless man in a wheel chair. I had all the same thoughts the man on the radio described, but my internal censor stopped me short of asking the question; and as a result, I left without even attempting to get her number. I felt a strong connection, and yet I was trapped. Even if the two weren’t a pair, which I highly doubted, I could have turned out to be an insensitive prick for assuming it. The man was in a wheelchair, and undoubtedly, at least in my mind, he must have looked at people like me at the time--strong, healthy, and impossibly handsome (cough)—and wished to trade places, even for a day. Hey, there could be a story in that…

So out of respect I walked away. But the way she looked at me that night--you know the look guys. Normally we're like salmon swimming upstream, crashing into the rocks; she politely laughs while scanning the room. Not always though. Sometimes she really finds you interesting and often funny, which inspires the inner comedian. Maybe you get the slight touch on the arm that you pretend not to notice. She was all those things. And while I enjoyed it immensely, I was ever conscious of him, and I felt his helplessness and pain.

I used to think of that night a lot, but since I met my wife those coulda-beens don’t haunt me any more. The story on the radio however made me feel somewhat vindicated. I may have done the right thing after all.

7 comments:

Eve said...

I think you probably did. Hapy Valentine's Day to you and your Valentine!

magnetbabe said...

That was a great story for Valentine's Day! The "love conquers physical disability" stories are the best. It doesn't matter if the girl you met was a couple with that guy or not, asking out a woman who was escorted to the bar by another man would have been wrong. You did the right thing no question.

Sadie Lou said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Scott. What a romantic read...

Moni said...

Why of course you did the right thing. That's the kind of person you are. Love does conquer all. Thanks for posting that story, you romantic devil, you.

Now expend some of that romance and take the wifey out for a little dinner and some after dinner activities. Ha!

Happy Valentine's Day...to you and your sweetie.

Hugs to ya.

Scott said...

Thanks Eve!

Natalie - Thanks for that. The way I was brought up, it was dog-eat-dog, so walking away from anything was considered weak.

Sadie - Funny, I didn't see it as romantic, but I suppose it is.

Moni - Yeah, I need to come up with something for tonight. I'm not very good at being romantic in that holiday way.

Toni Anderson said...

Scott, it is a nice story. Sometimes those memories are more precious because we didn't act on them. My brother's wife was in a wheelchair for years. I wonder how he coped with similar situations? Now he's ready to move on, but days like Valentine's and anniversaries are really tough on him.

I hope you think of something nice--sometimes that just means being there!!!

Shesawriter said...

That was a great story, Scott. Very moving and thoughtful. But the part where you said, "strong, healthy, and impossibly handsome (cough)" almost made me spit my Pepsi all over my 'puter. ;-)

Tanya